Friendship Bread


Well-Known Member
Reaction score
Friendship Bread
By Bobby Neal Winters

I was doing some research for a talk to a church group and came across a recipe for Amish Friendship Bread. For those of you who had not had the pleasure of eating Amish Friendship Bread, let me tell you it is much more like cake than bread in both sweetness and texture.

It can serve as a metaphor because like friendship takes a lot of care and time to develop, but at the end the product is sweet. Someone could make a whole sermon on just that, but I'm not going to. I am going to talk about geometric growth, guilt, and maybe a couple of other things.

First off, I am going to risk being killed Comanche-style, so that I can tell you the truth. Amish friendship bread is a scam. This is how it words. One day someone you know, maybe some one you even trust walks up to you with a loaf of bread as a present. It is the sweetest bread you've ever tasted, much more like cake than bread, as I said before. You like it so well that you ask them for a recipe.

They say, "Well, you know, its funny you should mention that because I just happen to have the recipe here," they hand you the recipe, and add, "I will have to give you a little starter too." They hand you a frozen chunk of dough and run off into the night laughing and weeping at the same time while saying, "I'm free. Ha, ha, ha, I'm free."

You will understand why they are laughing, because Amish friendship bread is not bread. It is a lifestyle choice. You have to keep at this for ten whole days and do something every stinking day. Some days you have to add ingredients, and some days you just stir, but if you fail, the yeast in the starter will die. You've got to keep the yeast alive because if it dies it's gone, and for all you know, you might be the last person in the world with the sacred loaf. The entire legacy of the Amish might die because you were too lazy, inattentive, or irresponsible to keep the yeast alive. You know, people like you make me sick.

Ummm, sorry, where was I?

At the end of the ten days, there is a choice to be made because you have enough dough for three loaves, and there are a number of things you can do.

You can just eat all three loaves yourself, but somehow this just seems wrong. What would the Amish think of someone that greedy, eh? They're suffering along without electricity and riding in horse-drawn carts, and you are just eating their bread and departing from the plan. Besides, if you cook all three, then that is the last of the bread for you.

You could cook two loaves and keep one for starter, but then it never gets spread. No one else has the ability to produce the bread for themselves. This means that you are selfish, but it also means that you might be taking the responsibility for keeping the bread alive all by yourself. This is too much stress for most people.

Another alternative is to just go with The Plan, which is to cook one, keep one for the next go around, and give one away to spread the joy.

And it is a grand plan. It uses the principal of geometric growth. When things grow by doubling, they grow quickly, so Friendship Bread spreads quickly. Whole city blocks can be decimated in just a few weeks. If everybody keeps up the Covenant with the Amish there will be almost 7 billion loaves produced over the course of a year. Keep this up for too long—about three years—and the earth would collapse into a black hole.

As this has not happened, it's pretty clear someone out there is breaking the Covenant.

Since I am pretty innocent about such things, one of the good ladies where I was giving my talk had to educate me as to what happens. She said, "Just put it in your freezer and let it die." She was pretty good natured about the suggestion she might go to hell for thinking like that.

Yet, were it not for such as her, we would surely face disaster. Long before our planet achieve the mass required to turn it into a black hole, our economies would become completely oriented toward the production of AFB as it come to be called; we always abbreviate disasters. Soon we would become bloated slaves who did nothing be make and eat AFB. What a bleak existence that would be.

So breaking the chain might save civilization, the world, and the universe. "Just put it in the freezer, and let it die."

I wonder, does this happen to friendship, too?

(Note: Those desiring to become slaves to a loaf of Friendship Bread may find a link to a recipe on Bobby's website at Or just wait until it comes back around.)
Aisling wants un-verbose spirituality.

Dear Okie:

Reading your contribution again, I mean you, do you think you could have written a more direct and concise and clear message.

Please don't be offended or perturbed, but I am sure that if you were teaching a course in writing, you would not be happy with your own composition in the present message on Amish Friendship Bread.

I am not sure what points you are trying to make, and the main focus. I do need your spiritual tips as you produce them periodically. May I then request you most cordially to put the points you have in mind to deliver in brief sentences, just choose four of them, the ones most helpful to people here in your own appreciation.

Best regards, and not to be patronizing, I do derive good inputs from your column.

Susma Rio Sep